Memories of royal visit to Sheffield by Shah of Persia

Retro contributor Michael Parker has uncovered reports of a lavish-sounding visit to Sheffield by the Shah of Persia in his perusals of old newspapers.

By julia.armstrong1
Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 4:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th May 2019, 1:35 pm
The menu for the Shah of Persia's visit to Sheffield in 1889
The menu for the Shah of Persia's visit to Sheffield in 1889

Michael wrote: “The current publicity concerning the proposed state visit of President Trump to the UK, consequently reminded me of a similar occasion that occurred when the Shah of Persia (Iran) paid his second trip to the country in July 1889 – which included a visit to Sheffield, with accompanying grandiose public ceremony on July 12 of that year.”

Michael found that the start of the visit was delayed because the royal visitor felt fatigued after a too-busy schedule during his time in Birmingham.

The Shah and his retinue arrived by train to be greeted by the mayor, the Duke of Norfolk, the Master Cutler, a reception committee and the Town Clerk.

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A newspaper drawing of the Shah of Persia, who visited Sheffield in 1889

He was escorted by a squadron of the Yorkshire Dragoons to the Corn Exchange for the presentation of an address from the city corporation, followed by a visit to the Atlas Works of John Brown and Co, where the visitors were to have lunch.

They were also entertained by the Mistress Cutler and were overnight guests of the Duke of Norfolk at his residence, known as The Farm.

Following a public appeal by the mayor, the route of the procession was decorated and illuminated for the visit.

The Sheffield Independent reported: “The decorations at the Corn Exchange are being carried out by Messrs TB and W Cockayne, on a scale of unusual magnificence, and it is safe to say that at no time since its erection has the interior of this fine building presented a more delightful appearance.”

Midland Station, the Cutlers’ Hall and Atlas Works were also magnificently transformed.

The party were due to tour the steelworks, including the armour plate mills and Bessemer furnaces.

The following day, the Shah’s party visited the showrooms of cutlery firm Joseph Rodgers and Sons on Norfolk Street and silversmiths James Dixon and Sons on Cornish Place.